Category Archives: Books

Martinis, Drink of Choice

Bond…looked carefully at the barman.
“A dry martini,” he said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”
“Oui, monsieur.”
“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon`s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it`s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?”
“Certainly, monsieur.” The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
–From Casino Royale by Ian Fleming.

Bond named the drink `The Vesper` for a beautiful double agent he loved. The recipe is 3 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of vodka, 1/2 ounce blond Lillet, and a large, thin slice of lemon peel. Pour the liquid ingredients into a Martini glass and add a lemon peel. Oh, and by the way, Xenia Onatopp likes hers straight up, with a twist.

No drink is more famous or more identified with one character than the Vodka Martini and James Bond. The line “shaken, not stirred” has been recited countless millions of times in pubs and bars around the world. Now that you know how James Bond takes his drink, we`ve added a few ideas and recipes to spice up your own martini making. Enjoy!

Steps for preparing a martini:
Stainless steel cocktail shaker
Martini glasses–the larger the better.
Shotglass.
Gin
Vermouth
Fresh lemon.
Quality cocktail olives.
Prepare fresh ice using bottled or distilled water.
Place ingredients in refrigerator; place glasses and shaker in freezer.
Strain olives, then bathe them overnight in vermouth.

Sprite Martini
Bacardi Limon
Roses Lime Juice
7 Up or Sprite
MARTINI & ROSSI Extra Dry Vermouth
Shaken, strained and topped with a sprinkling of confectioners sugar

Cranberry Martini
2 Parts Finlandia Vodka
1 Part Finlandia Cranberry Vodka
(Infused with fresh strawberries)
Dash of MARTINI & ROSSI Extra Dry Vermouth
Garnish with lemon peel wrapped “Holland” pepper

Chocolate Raspberry Martini
Belvedere Vodka
White Chocolate Liqueur
Dark Chocolate Liqueur
MARTINI & ROSSI Rosso
Raspberry liqueur
Garnish with a fresh raspberry marinated in vodka

Ginger Spice Martini
Bacardi Spice
MARTINI & ROSSI Rosso
Splash of sweet ginger syrup
Fortify with gold flake and ginseng
Garnish with a candied kumquat incased in pulled sugar

Cinnamon Spice Martini
Bacardi Spiced Rum
MARTINI & ROSSI Rosso
Garnish with two cinnamon stick
Shaken not stirred

Magnificent Seven (With Lemon)
2 1/4 oz. Ketel One Vodka
Splash of MARTINI & ROSSI Extra Dry Vermouth
Splash of Sweet & Sour
Splash of Cranberry
Splash of Triple Sec
Suger rimmed glasses
Fresh Lemons
Whole Big Dash of Love

Kamakazi Martini
Rinse glass with MARTINI & ROSSI Extra Dry Vermouth
2 3/4 oz. Skyy Vodka
1/4 oz. Sake
Garnish with Japanese pickled plum and shiso

THE CLASSIC MARTINI Pour 2 ounces of London dry gin, 1 ounce of French vermouth, and 1 dash of Fee Brothers` orange bitters into an ice-filled shaker. Shake, then pour into a well-chilled stemmed glass and garnish with lemon peel or olive. This is the way the Martini was made before Prohibition. (If you want a turn-of-the-century version, substitute sweet Italian vermouth for the French dry, and use equal proportions of vermouth and gin.

THE MODERN DRY MARTINI Pour 4 ounces of gin and 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth into an ice-filled shaker. Shake, then strain into a glass. Garnish with lemon twist or olive. An onion makes the drink a Gibson. Vodka may be Substituted for gin to make a Vodkatini, but don`t expect old-timers to appreciate it.

THE CAJUN MARTINI Pour a fifth of your favorite gin or vodka into a large jug, jar, or bottle. Add two or three fresh jalapeno peppers (sliced, seeded, and deveined), and a single red chili pepper (don`t overdo it!). Let sit in the refrigerator for two days. Shake with ice and vermouth in a 5 to 1 ratio. Serve straight up or on the rocks. (If too hot, dilute with more gin and vodka.)

Collecting the Lifestyle of James Bond

Paul Kyriazi specializes in making men of mice, and Bonds out of barely successful fellows. He is the author and lecturer of “How to Live the JAMES BOND Lifestyle”, a fascinating program geared toward turning our Walter Mitty-ish fantasies about the world’s greatest super spy into practical advice for conquering our own personal supervillains and winning the girl and saving the day.

Drawing heavily from the world of 007, especially the man’s man portrayal of Bond in the early 60’s films, Kyriazi walks his listeners through more than a dozen chapters offering advice on everything from the secret motivations of women to “taking command” of resorts and securing choice hotel accommodations, to gambling in Las Vegas like Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (but on a sensible gaming budget!) and living, thinking, dressing and acting for success, just like our man 007.

Straightforward, whimsical and personable, Kyriazi delivers a cornucopia of tips and tricks for success for men among James Bondian moves, witticisms and choices. He points out the universals of Bond’s appeal, such as a constantly intrigued, bemused expression on a tanned, weathered face with an appetite for life, the delivery of fun, charm and sophistication to any woman he meets, always having the right gadget and the right amount of cash, charm and control to get the job done at hand, and much more. Kyriazi’s Bond is the gentlemanly lover of a good woman in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, the connoisseur of fine beverages in “Goldfinger” and the man of the world who knows how to tip his help in “Diamonds Are Forever”.

Working now in Japan to train men to live and think for success with his popular program on “Mr. Kiss-Kiss-Bang-Bang”, Paul Kyriazi has taken the lifestyle of the world’s greatest fictional hero and honed it to acquiring the confidence and sophistication today’s man needs to survive with integrity in our dog-eat-dog culture. Bond fans will enjoy his materials and reminiscences, and men needing to get organized, get sensible about their budgets and get ahead in life will benefit as well.

To learn more about living like James Bond contact Paul Kyriazi and his staff by email or online at or their website, “Bondlife.Com” or by mail at:

RONIN AUDIO BOOKS
12335 SANTA MONICA BLVD PMB 116
LOS ANGELES CA 90025

–Matt Sherman’s twenty-year-plus hobby of collecting James Bond 007 has taken on a new and ironic dimension through “How to Live the JAMES BOND Lifestyle”, practicality!

you only script twice

Let’s start with the plot.

The “Revenge Factor” was present througout the book. In the film the plot was changed to Blofeld stealing rockets. Next, the two major villians of the book are missing. Shatterhand is altered into Blofeld, and Emmy Shatterhand is just missing all together. Her character was basically replaced by Osato`s assistant, Helga Brandt. And Osato was a totally new character created for the film.

Three characters who stayed were malicously altered. Dikko Henderson became just Mr. Henderson, and was in the movie for about 90 seconds. In the novel, he was in at least 50 pages. The other returning character was Tiger Tanaka. He wasn`t as altered as Henderson, but he isn`t even close to being the novel like version. Kissy Suzuki is the same way, and actually, 007 never once says her name! Her way of life as a former actress and as a shell diver was also defeated in purpose.

Shatterhand`s magnificant Castle of Death was transformed into Blofeld`s cave on a Japanese Island.

tomorrow never changes?

The Tomorrow Never Dies novel by Raymond Benson follows the plot lines closely of the final film. Author Benson wrote his book from an early script provided to him by EON. For purposes of rushing the book to coincide with the film’s release, (publishers need the books completed months ahead) authors typically write from first script drafts—even if the film hasn’t wrapped shooting and changes the final result!

Mr. Benson has himself stated that Tomorrow Never Dies and his forthcoming The World Is Not Enough are not among his favorite efforts because they were done at speed to satisfy the fans. First printings of the British hardback of TND, however, are fetching nearly $200 US, due to their selling out from bookstores in a matter of days after its release.

Which juicy tidbits make it to the book that are not on celluloid? Intriguing lines of Bruce Feirstein’s scripted dialogue and character backgrounds, mostly.

Villains:

Intriguingly, Raymond Benson’s Stamper was genetically engineered to be without nerve endings! In effect, he can “feel no pain,” a skill numerous moviegoers might envy. In the film Stamper’s invulnerability is nearly unexplored—watch when he smiles as Bond’s knife finds a target in his leg. Stamper apparently enjoys snuff video, and possibly pornography also, for his lighter TV watching. In the final film, his crew on Carver’s “Stealth Ship” videotapes the gunning down of Devonshire survivors. This plot element is not played to any effect greater than a quick, greedy glance between Carver and Stamper, who share a taste for sensational video in the novel.

Allies:

In the novel, MI6 Chief of Staff, Bill Tanner, appears from the beginning, but in the film this longtime ally has been replaced by “Get out of it, James!” Robinson.

After escaping from the Khyber Pass alive, Bond (White Knight) sends a message to the haughty Admiral Roebuck, code named Black King: “…you can tell the Black King that the White Knight would like to shove the whole chessboard right up his bishop!” In the final film, this provocative line has been replaced with the terse: “Ask the Admiral where he’d like these (bombs) delivered.”

The exotic Wai Lin has a background mission that hastens her visit to Elliot Carver’s Hamburg headquarters. She receives orders from a “General Koh” to investigate “General Chang.” The film has pitched Wai Lin’s assignment from her superiors, and a silent General Chang is glimpsed once by Wai Lin and Bond.

Wai Lin and 007 make hanky-panky before boarding the Stealth Ship and again after its destruction. In the film, we are teased with an embrace as the final credits roll.

Both 007 and Wai Lin pose as bankers, while in the film Wai Lin’s television reporter cover earns a few risqué laughs from Carver when he threatens to “get Miss Lin behind a news desk.”

In the book, Paris is “introduced” to James Bond by her hubby, Elliot Carver. She promptly slaps Bond silly and rushes Wai Lin into a powder room to gossip about him! In the film, of course, Bond stalks up behind Paris, alone, and quips “I’ve always wondered how I’d feel if I ever saw you again.” This line comes from their hotel room scene in the novel.

the thunderball transformation

Amazingly, all major characters from the novel went into the movie. The movie is missing some key scenes from the book though. First off is the opening of the book where M packs 007 off to Shrublands. In the movie Bond is there for no apparent reason.

The next cut from the book was seeing the face of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the leader of SPECTRE. He was very visable in the novel, with a full description. We just see his hands in the movie. Following that, a very enjoyable lunch scene between Bond and Leiter was taken out, because it was tangent and had little to do with plot developement.

The two final cuts were from the climax. First Bond was on board a US naval vessel, recruiting for the fight against Largo`s men, underwater. This scene never happens, in the film and the US soldiers are just there to help 007. And finally the climax in the water featured a terrific fight between 007 and Emilio Largo and ended with Domino killing Largo. In the movie, the setting is changed to the bridge of the Disco Volante.

octopussy – book to film transformation

Very little of Ian Fleming’s book Octopussy made it onto the big screen. Major Dexter Smythe was the main character in Ian`s short story, but gets only a passing reference in the film. In the book, Bond tracks down the greedy Major to Jamaica, not Sri Lanka, as in the film.

Octopussy, in the novel, was in reference to the Major`s pet Octopus that dined off his beach, whereas in the movie, it referred to a beautiful jewel smuggler. Oberhauser was Smythe`s guide through rough German mountain terrain, yet is not mentioned by name in the film. The location of Germany is used in both the book and film, but not for the same reasons.

The other short story the film Octopussy was based upon was called The Property Of A Lady. The film combined the character of Kenneth Snowman and Dr. Fanshawe into Jim Fanning, who did accompany Bond to Sotheby`s in the film. In the book Bond tried to spot the person bumping up the price, whereas in the film Bond `bumps up the price`. In the film, the Faberge is the object d`art, whereas in the book, it was called the Emerald Sphere.

licence to kill – adaptation

License To Kill was based, in part, upon two different Fleming Novels; the novels–Live And Let Die and The Hildebrand Rarity. With most novel to film transitions, some of the most fun can be had seeing what made the final script and what did not. We`ll first take a look at The Hildebrand Rarity.

The Milton Krest character made the film, but he was drastically different than the book character. As in the book, LTK`s Krest had a drinking problem. What Krest did`nt have in LTK was his `corrector`, a whip made of sea spines. He used it, in the book, to keep his wife in line. In the film, the `corrector` is given to the newly created character of Franz Sanchez, who only uses it once. Liz Krest did`nt make the film, but instead was essentially replaced by Lupe Lamora. The WaveKrest in the book made the film and in both cases, The WaveKrest was being used searching for marine specimens as a cover for more nefarious activities. In the case of The Hildebrand Rarity, The WaveKrest was used as a tax writeoff/way to travel around the world free. In LTK, it was used to smuggle cocaine.

A whole section was taken from Live and Let Die, that had not been used for the film of that name. Mostly, this had to do with the revenge of a criminal against Felix Leiter, and how Bond reacted to it. In the book, Felix was partially fed to a great white shark and a note attached to the leftovers of his body that said “He disagreed with something that ate him”. In the book, this sequence takes place on an ocean front warehouse in Tampa/St.Petersburg, whereas in the film, it takes place in Key West.

In the book, Bond is investigating treasure smuggling by Mr. Big. In LTK, Felix and Bond investigate drug smuggling by Franz Sanchez. In LALD, the treasure was being smuggled in the bottom of aquariums that had collected sea creatures. The gold coins were buried in the silt. In LTK, the cocaine was smuggled inside the WaveKrest, and buried underneath a maggot incubator.

In The Hildebrand Rarity, Bond was aided by Fidele Barbery and in Live and Let Die, Bond was aided by Quarrel. In License To Kill, Bond is aided by Sharky who is either one of these characters in disguise. Take your pick.

now hold on there, goldfinger

Missing in the film is Junuis Du Pont, the man who has been taken to the cleaners by Auric Goldfinger. Also missing are Goldfinger`s backers, SMERSH, as well as the use of a train for the heist. Instead he is backed by the Red Chinese, who also have supplied him with an atomic bomb. Also, a vital scene in a New York hospital where Bond and Tilly Masterton are being held was removed because Oddjob killed Masterton in the film.

The way that Goldfinger has planned to poison the town is also different in the book than in the film. In the book he places a diluted substance in the water, which will knock out everyone. In the movie he puts it into the air. And finally, the most memorable scene in the film , the laser scene, was originally a huge industrial saw used to torture Bond. In the book it had to be a saw because commercial use lasers, as a rule, hadn`t been invented yet.

from russia, with changes

SMERSH, the villian in the novel has now become SPECTRE. The plot is to have Bond killed in a major scheme while trying to steal a Spektor decoder. The movie`s plot was to have Bond deliver the Lektor decoder to Grant, who would sell it back to the Russians, after disposing of 007.

The character of General G, the main leader of SMERSH in the novel was replaced almost exactly by Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the leader of SPECTRE in the movie. The chracter of Rene Mathis was not used at all, and was a missed opportunity. Most of the locales of the novel were used, except Paris, France. In the movie, this was changed to Venice, Italy.

For Your Eyes Only: From A book to a film

One of the finest Bond movies of the 1980`s was created from three separate short stories and a novel. Fleming work used to create the screenplay? For Your Eyes Only, Risico and Live and Let Die.

For Your Eyes Only
To start off, there are simply no major characters who were removed from the story to the movie except “M” and von Hammerstein. The character of “M” was “away” and replaced by Chief of Staff Frederick Gray. This was due to the death of Bernard Lee, who had played “M” since the first film in 1962. Screenwriter Richard Maibaum replaced Von Hammerstein from the book with Kristatos for the film.

Dialogue that was used for the film, from the book, included: “The Chinese have a saying, before going out on revenge, dig two graves” and “You go to hell. It was my parents who were killed, not yours.” Maibaum tweaked the dialogue from the story but the essence was the same.

Major changes were A) Location and B) a few characters, names and backgrounds. Col. Havelock had a higher ranking and was an official knight. His wife`s first name was never mentioned in the movie. Also, both of the parents were British in the story, whereas in the movie, Mrs. Havelock is Greek. The other change was to his daughter, Judy became Melina in the movie. It was changed because the name is more ethnic than “Judy”.

The locations were changed as well. Jamaica was the scene of the Havelock`s assasination in the book. In the film, it was replaced by Greece. Vermont was the scene of Von Hammerstein`s assasinatin by Judy in the book, but was replaced by Southern Spain. Cortina, Italy was not featured in the book.

Risico
First off, the few major characters Kristatos, Colombo and Lisl Baum are all included in the translation from page to screen. The only thing that did change, much like For Your Eyes Only, was the location, this time from Rome and Milan to Greece.

One of the most interesting things is that the dining scene was faithfully re-created, including the scene where Colombo has a tape recorder planted inside the candle holder at Bond and Kristatos` table. This scene is also where Kristatos gives Bond Colombo`s nickname (rumored in the movie) of `The Dove.`

Another scene that was taken directly, nearly word for word from the story was Bond`s cover to Lisl: that he was doing a story on smugglers. Here is Fleming`s passage: “My name is Bond, James Bond. I`m a writer, doing a story on smugglers, drug smugglers. I`m having trouble with the trade. Would you happen to know any stories?”

“Oh, so that is why you were having dinner with Kristatos. He has a bad reputation. As for the stories, I know none. I know what everyone else knows.”

Also, the scene where Bond fights three of Colombo`s thugs was included, but the death of Lisl Baum doesn`t happen there, or at all. In the book, she never gets killed; she only disappears for a while.

One interesting bit taken from the story and put in the film was that one of the two smugglers had received the King`s Medal for resistance fighting. However, in the book, Colombo received it; in the movie Kristatos was the hero.

Miscellaneous References
For Your Eyes Only (the movie) also picks up a scene from the novel Live and Let Die. In that book, Solitaire and Bond are bound together, tied to the end of Mr. Big`s yacht, and keel hauled across a harbor full of coral. In For Your Eyes Only, the writers substitute Melina for Solitaire. In the book, Mr. Big`s yacht blows up due to a timed mine placed underneath the hull by 007. In the movie, James and Melina escape by cutting their ropes on the coral and swimming to safety.

Diamonds Are Forever Conversion

Tiffany Case made it to the film. Jill St. John captured a lot of Tiffany`s attitude in the film without having to explain what caused her to be so cold towards men. The Spang Brothers gang of crime was replaced by Morton Slumber and his dense goons.

Shady Tree went from being a New York mobster in the book to a lounge act in the film. Wint and Kidd were faceless killers right up until the end of the book. They wore masks, were from Detroit and were more vicious in the book than in the film, though they were still lovers in the film. Felix Leiter made both the book and the film, though in the book he was working on the same case as Bond, but from a different angle.

From A View To A Kill

From A View To A Kill is a short story in the For Your Eyes Only collection. A weak entry in Fleming`s canon to begin with, it`s virtually useless as a springboard for creating a film. Only Bond and M in the short story make it into the film.

The location of Paris, France also makes it into the film. Other than that, there is no resemblance whatsoever between book and film.

A View On Bond Reviews James Bond’s Cuisine

sdfdsfA research feat second to none, The Man with the Hawk-like Culinary Eye!

2014, CreateSpace, 128 pages. (Review posted 9 August 2015.)

Perhaps not second to none, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s not too far off! Credit where credit is due: this is a truly exhaustive overview of Bond’s cuisine, which spans the Fleming novels, the official spin-off novels, and the films. ANY type of culinary reference is captured by Matt Sherman’s sharp eye – and then is often embellished by his very dry wit – and this includes food or drink-oriented product placement and/or any sort of unintended devouring that has occurred in the series (e.g. Die Another Day at 46 minutes and 8 seconds: “Bond spits out water from a fire sprinkler that douses him”).

Thus, the level of research detail is hugely impressive – and the breadth of detail is also where a great deal of humour is mined: James Bond’s Cuisine manages to traverse that seemingly contradictory line of serious scholarship delivered with the enjoyably relaxed and accessible quality of a “coffee table” book.

Furthermore, you come away from the text with a firmer-than-firm sense of the place of cuisine in the highly sumptuous Bondian atmosphere – and the book manages to genuinely surprise one in its highlighting of the sheer extent of references to food and drink, and munching and consuming, found within the series. Mr Sherman also includes some practical indexes such as “signature meal cuisines” and “real world Bond eateries”.

Admittedly, I’m not really a “foodist”. The principal attraction in purchasing this book was based on my enjoyment of Mr Sherman’s knowledgeable and personable presence within James Bond fan communities. I can certainly see, however, that a by-product of a great interest in James Bond is that one is served a strong knowledge base in culinary pursuits. I feel well equipped to wing it through dinner party conversation.

Furthermore, I found that this book – in the process of pinpointing all the culinary references – kept reminding me of all the engrossing Bondian moments and scenarios I have enjoyed over the years. That constitutes a bonus in what is a tremendous reference work.

Last but not least, I particularly liked the capsule summaries for each and every Bond novel and film, where references to mastication have been employed to describe the central conspiracies and action. To wit, 1984’s Role of Honour (“Ending superpower supremacy will devour the economy unless James Bond crashes S.P.E.C.T.R.E.’s flight of fancy”), 1960’s The Spy who Loved Me (“James Bond sustains a woman after other men wolf down her vulnerability”), and 1974’s film version of The Man with the Golden Gun (“An assassin with a penchant for Cordon Bleu cooking creates crises for James Bond”).

To be enjoyed and admired!

Solo/Boyd – Bond’s Land Rover?

boyd-profile_2133923b

When Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, hit bookstore shelves in 1953, it featured a top spy who couldn’t be swayed by anything (except maybe a pretty face and a perfectly shaken martini). These days, however, it seems that cold hard cash has an undeniable allure for Bond’s brand brokers.

At least it does for William Boyd, the British novelist who is currently responsible for writing the James Bond character’s adventures. After signing a deal with Land Rover, Boyd put the brand front and center in his latest work, The Vanishing Game. Though Bond himself does not appear in the new book, fans of the franchise will surely be studying Boyd’s next 007 feature more closely for potential product placements after this.

As The Times of London hears, Boyd was paid a six-figure sum to write Land Rover into his latest novella: The Vanishing Game, an eight-part multimedia story featuring video, photography, animation, and sound. Readers can discover the full experience on the book’s interactive Tumblr page or download it as free e-book through both Amazon and Apple.

As Land Rover notes in its press release on The Vanishing Game, which it describes as a digital adventure story and interactive literary experience, not only does the hero, Alec Dunbar, drive a “weather-battered Land Rover Defender,” but “also embedded into the interactive experience are snippets of driving journeys from actual Land Rover owners, curated by the brand through the designated hashtag #WellStoried. When readers scroll over certain words and passages, the story will pause as these owners’ personal driving adventures are displayed on-screen.”

Boyd, meanwhile, sees no issue in writing a Land Rover-sponsored book, and borrowing an idea that has made the James Bond film producers plenty of cash.

“A Land Rover is part of the mental geography of almost every British person, I believe,” stated Boyd in Land Rover’s press release. “Consequently, to be asked to write a story in which a Land Rover features was immensely appealing, almost an act of homage. What I tried to achieve was to make the Land Rover an inherent presence in the story.”

Boyd also cited other writers, including Charles Dickens, who have been similarly commissioned to write stories, Boyd told The Telegraph.

Readers can engage with the story on Tumblr through desktop, mobile and tablet devices, and will be encouraged to share its content across multiple social platforms. A standalone e-book edition of The Vanishing Game is available for free from Apple’s iBooks Store on iPad and Mac. Additionally, it’s available for free from Amazon for Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, and the free Kindle app for Android, iOS, PC, Mac, and web browsers.

Boyd’s long and successful writing career received a lot of attention last year when he published the first of his James Bond novels, Solo. Land Rover is clearly leveraging that attention by shrewdly sponsoring this new title.

As expected, publishing industry diehards aren’t taking lightly to the notion of product placement in fiction, even if one of the best-selling book franchises—Fifty Shades of Greyfeatures Audi in the original books and also on-screen. Publishing house Galley Beggar Press tweeted, “God no” when the news came out:

Still, as Digital Book World points out, this cash is a boon for the e-book world, and could signify the beginnings of a brand-book partnership trend.

Another e-book was recently underwritten by Sweet’N Low in exchange for product placement, and features “interactive multimedia content and is meant to be shared by readers on social media.”

Given the excellent production quality and the intriguing new format of Boyd’s book, Land Rover shouldn’t worry; it’s already getting plenty of press for the campaign.

Book Synopses and Reviews – ALLIGATOR!

5174PMHZRWLALLIGATOR

By I*n Fl*m*ng (Michael K Frirth and Christopher Cerf)
First published: November 1962, Vanitas Books (US only)
Reprinted: January 1963 (US only)

Bibliographic notes and trivia bonus: Frirth and Cerf co-created the tv show “Sesame Street”. Frirth later co-created the children`s show “Fraggle Rock”. Cerf was also one of the judges on the much-maligned Random-House list of this century`s 100 best novels.

Hero: J*mes B*nd 007 (trade cover: World-Wide Import & Export Ltd)
Heroine: Anagram Le Galion
Villain: Lacertus Alligator (steel toothed; face purple from heart condition)
Villain`s Employer: TOOTH (ex-Nazis) and SMERSH
Villain`s Project: Steal British Parliament buildings, kidnap Queen for ransom
Minor villain(s):

-Mr Kynstondi, Mr Pazardzhik (both deaf mutes)
-unnamed gigantic mute Korean
-Heinrich (an alligator)
-Kapitan Hammerstein

Bond`s Friends:

-M (head of the British Secret Service)
-Llewylla (Bond`s housekeeper)
-Bill (Chief of Staff)
-Lilly Postlethwaite (Bond`s secretary)
-Miss Pennyfarthing
-Lord Dingletump (Glades Chairman)
-Felix Ronson (CIA Agent who lost an arm and a leg to a shark in Florida on a previous mission with Bond)
-Squabble (black native, i.e. Quarrel)

Highlights:

-Card game
-Anagram`s backstory (Chapter 13)
-Bond hears the chimes and sees Parliament
-Alligator`s backstory
-Bond disguised as PM, chase up Big Ben

Locations:

-London, England
-Glades (Club)
-Bermuda
-British Parliament Buildings

Summary: (Note: even though the villain`s name is Alligator, several alligators (reptiles) appear in the story. For example, Bond shoots a reptile in Chapter 13, not the villain. Also, there`s no point writing “B*nd” for “Bond” and “*” for “M”, though the chapter titles are kept intact, although hilarity ensues when Bond wonders what * is thinking and doing.)

1: Table 14
Bond bored, contemplates his lethargy in a bar. Alligator and his entourage, including a blonde (Anagram Le Galion) and two deaf mute henchmen, enter. Bond also notices Alligator`s steel teeth [see quote]. One of the henchmen, on Alligator`s behalf, invites Bond to their table.

2: A Spray Of Violets
Alligator spray-paints Bond`s face purple; Alligator loves the colour. Bond and Alligator discuss drinks and Bond explains how his own drink is made, then christens it the “Anagram”. Alligator goes to the washroom. Anagram begs Bond to take her away, but once in her car, she has second thoughts and asks Bond to leave.

3: “Give Oop This Life O` Yourn”
Bond`s Welsh housekeeper Llewylla wakes a cursing Bond up. Bill, the Chief Of Staff, phones. Bond drives to work. Ms Pennyfarthing tells him every London bridge has collapsed.

4: Interview With *
M asks Bond about Alligator. Bond says he`s already met the man. M explains Alligator`s background, how Alligator became one of the world`s richest men, and that he cheats at cards.

5: The Man He Loved And Obeyed
M continues. Alligator cheats at the card game “Go Fish”. The Glades chairman didn`t want a scandal, so he asked M if any of his men could catch Alligator out. Bond prepares two decks of cards at home, picks M up and drives to Glades. Bond and M work out a signal: Bond will propose a toast when he`s cracked Alligator`s system. Once inside Glades, Bond becomes excited at the prospect of doing battle with Alligator.

6: “What`s Your Limit, Alligator?”
Glade chairman Lord Dingletump, whose face has been spray-painted purple, introduces Bond and M to Alligator. Alligator promptly spray-paints their faces purple too. Bond and Alligator agree on terms and sit down to play cards.

7: “J*mes, Go Fish”
Bond regrets the terms he`s just made with Alligator; if he loses 8 sets, it`ll cost him more than triple his annual income. Bond plays badly, Alligator keeps winning. Bond notices the two deaf mutes who stand behind him and realizes they`re using sign language to tell Alligator what cards he has. Bond throws his chair back, knocking one of the deaf mutes over.

8: “Gentlemen, The Queen”
Alligator is ready to collect his winnings, but Bond challenges Alligator to a rematch for double the stakes. M reluctantly says that he`s good for Bond`s losses when Alligator asks. Before the rematch begins, Bond toasts the Queen, throwing his glass into the fireplace. Alligator tosses his and knocks Dingletump on the head. Bond switches cards with his doctored pack when Alligator spray-paints Dingletump again. The remaining deaf-mute signals Bond`s cards to Alligator. However, before Alligator does anything, Bond toasts the Queen again, and while nobody looks, slips both doctored “7s” from his sleeve into his hand, replacing them with his “kings”. Alligator asks for Bond`s kings and is surprised when Bond doesn`t have any. Bond proceeds to demolish Alligator and win almost half a million pounds. Alligator writes out a cheque and says that if I were you I`d cash this quickly.

9: The Still Vexed Bermoothes
In M`s office the next day. Apparently a purple crocodile killed the head of Station B; M wants Bond to investigate. (M also thanks Bond for donating the “Go Fish” winnings to the White Cross which benefits families of service agents killed in duty.) Bond, rather annoyed that M has sent him on a routine investigation, flies to Bermuda, where he happens across Alligator and Anagram at the Coral Beach Club. (Bond is annoyed to find American currency in as much use as British.)

10: A View From The Terrace
Bond lunches with Alligator (who spray-paints Bond`s face) and Anagram (who decides that Bond reminds her of Hoagy Carmichael). Alligator leaves to use the washroom; Anagram begs Bond to come to her room tomorrow evening where she will explain everything.

11: T.O.O.T.H.
Bond gets M`s cable next morning: the criminal organization T.O.O.T.H. has stolen the Parliament buildings, floating them down the River Thames, with the Queen, the PM, and other notables on board. T.O.O.T.H. demands one hundred million pounds ransom. Bond`s friend and former CIA agent Felix Ronson sneaks up on him; thinking it might be an enemy, Bond overpowers him and Ronson lands in scrambled egg. In between good-natured banter a la Fleming`s originals, Felix explains that he`s down here investigating an alligator smuggling ring.

12: An American Chap
Bond meets Bermuda`s Governor, who explains that Alligator bought one of the Bermuda Islands, and built a replica of Parliament painted purple on it. That evening, Bond dines with Anagram.

13: Things That Go Bump In The Night
Bond and Anagram go for a late night swim, where he discovers that Alligator hypnotized her, then painted her torso and nether regions purple. Back in his room, they slide into bed, and an alligator hidden beneath the bedspread lunges at them. Bond throws Anagram to the floor and shoots the alligator five times in the mouth. Soon afterwards, a bellboy knocks on the door and says that Felix Ronson is dead, chewed up by an alligator. Anagram tells Bond her backstory. SMERSH kidnapped her lover, Roger Entwhistle (004) and told her that they would kill him if she didn`t spy for them. They subsequently gave her to Alligator who made the same conditions. Alligator expected her to entice men whom he could feed to his alligators. Alligator would say, “I have to go to the bathroom”, his signal that he wanted her to entice the man, thereby explaining her previous inconsistent behaviour with Bond. Anagram had told Alligator that Bond had changed his mind that day in the restaurant. Alligator retaliated by supposedly having Roger killed. He also blackmailed her about her part in the deaths in case she tried leaving him or telling anybody. She also explains that Alligator`s favourite Alligator, Heinrich, killed the Head of Station B and Felix Ronson, both of whom had been nosing around. Bond decides to visit Alligator`s island base.

14: Alligator`s Lair
Squabble brings the diving gear, and the three of them head for the coast. Alligator, in his car, passes them on the way, and pulls a lever releasing ambergris (whale vomit). Squabble, Bond and Amber`s motor-bicycles skid. Squabble`s goes over the cliff, killing him. Bond and Anagram continue on to Alligator`s lair.

15: Death Of A Frogman
They swim to Alligator`s island; a frogman attacks and a CO2 spear barely misses Bond. The two men struggle and Bond kills him. A whirlpool vortex sucks a struggling Bond and Anagram into Alligator`s lair. Alligator knocks Bond unconcious.

16: The Pleasure Of His Company
Bond comes to, shackled to a chair, and notices an invite to dinner and a menu list. Bond lists how he wants his food prepared. The building vibrates and lists from side to side; Bond realizes that the building has become water-borne like a boat.

17: The House Of Usher
Bond hears two sets of chimes, each apparently four hours apart, and realizes that Alligator stole the Parliament buildings. Stormtroopers march him out at gun point onto a boat which takes him to the real Westminster Hall several hundred yards away; the replica is then sunk.

18 Pandora`s Box
Bond realizes that Alligator intended to float the real buildings out to where the replicas stood so that nobody would be the wiser. Alligator greets him, spray-paints his face purple, then takes him to see the Queen and the PM, the House of Lords, Lord Snowdon (Princess Margaret`s photographer ex-husband), whose faces have also all been spray-painted purple, inside the House of Commons chambers. Two debates are under way, both concerning Britain`s entry into the Common Market. At dinner, Mr Pazardzhik`s fake right arm shoots two darts out of his index finger into a Winston Churchill portrait; each of the darts was dipped in philopon, a Japanese murder drug. When Bond calls Alligator a maniac, Alligator counters that he considers himself an artist and compares himself to Hitler, Alexander The Great and Napoleon. Alligator also implies that Anagram is still a loyal operative, making Bond wonder if Anagram led him into this trap. Alligator tells his life story over dinner: from humble origins, through alligator smuggling, to his current plan and beyond. Several distractions let Bond swipe utensils and Alligator`s spray-paint can off the dinner table when no one is looking. Alligator further explains that he`ll turn on Russia and that the world will be his. An unnamed mute gigantic Korean comes in and karate chops Bond unconscious.

19: Do Not Puncture Or Incinerate
Bond comes to in the Parliament building`s fourth sub-basement. Alligator and a naked Anagram, painted purple from neck to knee, stand there. Bond curses himself for trusting her. Alligator threatens torture and a painful death if Bond doesn`t say who he`s working for. When Bond doesn`t respond, Alligator bites Bond`s calf with his steel teeth. Bond knocks his chair forward, overpowering Alligator. Alligator presses a button and Bond drops through the floor into an alligator pool. The alligator bites, inadvertantly cutting the ropes that bind Bond to the chair. Bond uses the weapons he stole from the dinner table to injure the alligator, ultimately killing it: Bond jams the spray-paint can into the alligator`s mouth. The alligator chomps down on it, the canister explodes, a shard lodges in the reptile`s windpipe. The trap door reopens, Bond vaults out and sees Anagram tied to an overturned chair; she had been on his side all along. Since Alligator`s men don`t suspect her loyalties, Bond wants her to get the MPs out of the ballot room.

20 Noon G.M.T. – Saturday
The MPs debate each other. Anagram cons Kapitan Hammerstein into believing that Alligator wants to see him and his men, and that he`s to give her the gun to keep watch over the British politicans. Bond joins her, and asks for the PM. Mr Pazardzhik shoves a note under the door asking the PM to see Alligator. Bond puts on the PM`s wig and robe, and carries the mace (the ceremonial metal object, not the spray), and goes to see Alligator. Steps away from Alligator, Kynstondi recognizes Bond and Mr Pazardzhik lifts his dart hand to fire. Bond knocks the arm off with the mace, then crushes Mr Kynstondi`s head. Alligator makes a run for it; Bond shoots him and chases him up the stairs to Big Ben. Alligator crumples and falls into the clockwork.

21 “When`s Supper?”
An injured Bond in M`s office. The PM had offered Bond a VC, but M had to explain that the service doesn`t go in for that sort of thing. The PM has told newspaper editors that what happened was a test run for moving the Parliament buildings in case of enemy attack. M offers Bond two weeks leave. Bond finds Anagram waiting for him in his home. They kiss.

Remarks: The famous Harvard Lampoon parody of Fleming`s James Bond novels is actually less a parody than a slavish imitation of Fleming`s originals.

Scenes and details are obviously copied (read: plagarized) from Fleming`s originals. I`m surprised that a plagiarism suit didn`t follow – the authors would never get away with it today – and it probably explains why the book only went through two printings and hasn`t been reprinted since.

It`s also at times a respectable Bond novel in its own right and this works in favour of including it in the series: it comes closer to Fleming`s style and tics (good and bad) than any post-Fleming Bond novelist.

The novel also has one major advantage over Fleming`s originals: it`s only 77 pages long and stapled like TV Guide Magazine, and perhaps no more than 32,000 words. Fleming sometimes went on a bit, and parts of Doctor No and most of Thunderball would have benefitted from being chopped in half.

Kingsley Amis complained that it was too close to the original and I assume that the authors marked down particular scenes from Fleming`s novels, changed them slightly and put them in a new order to create the novel. Compare two sets of examples:

1A) Every country in the world has its favourite bird, a creature which is pointed out with pride to foreigners and whose habits are followed lovingly by the natives. In Bermuda this bird is the long-tail, so called because nine-tenths of its twelve inches consist of two, long, graceful, black-tipped, white features. High above the beautiful stretch of pink sand six of them whirled, their white bodies flashes of light in the now setting sun, their tails meteor trails behind them. Their soft mewing punctuated the sound of the waves as they dipped and soared over the ebbing tide, their tiny bright eyes alert to the slightest movement indicating some hapless sea-creature left behind by the waves. Below them all but a few stragglers had left the beach.

1B) The most beautiful bird in Jamaica, and some say the most beautiful bird in the world, is the streamer-tail or doctor humming-bird. The cock bird is abut nine inches long, but seven inches of it are tail – two long black feathers that curve and cross each other and whose inner edges are in a form of scalloped design. The head and crest are black, the wings dark green, the long bill is scarlet, and the eyes, bright and confiding, are black. The body is emerald green, so dazzling that when the sun is on the breast you see the brightest green thing in nature. In Jamaica, birds that are loved are given nicknames. Trochilus polytmus is called “doctor bird” because his two black streamers remind people of the black tail-coat of the old-time physician.

2A) He had not wished to embarrass the Governor, who seemed to him an easily embarrassable man, and it could in fact have been unwise to give him knowledge of a felony which might easily be the subject of a question in the Legislature Council. […] He had known the purpose of Bond`s visit to the Colony, and that evening, when Bond had shaken him by the hand, the dislike of a peaceable man for violent action had been communicated to Bond by something constrained and defensive in the Governor`s manner. […] Not that Bond had anything against the Governor. He belonged to a routine type that Bond had often encountered round the world – solid, loyal, competent, sober and just: the best type of Colonial civil Servant. Solidly, competently, loyally he would have filled the minor posts for thirty years while the Empire crumbled around him; and now, just in time, by sticking to the ladders and avoiding the snakes, he had got to the top. In a year or two it would be the GCB and out – out to Godalming, or Cheltenham or Tunbridge Wells with a pension and a small packet of memories of places like the Trucial Oman, the Leeward Islands, British Guiana, that no one at the local golf club would have heard of or would care about.

2B) Bond and the governor had disliked each other immediately. It was the instinctive reaction of a man of peace to a man of action, each realizing the necessity of the other`s job, but disagreeing with the principle behind it. To Bond the governor was a typical civil servant, holding on until he could retire on a nice pension to a little farm in the south of England and grow roses. To the governor Bond was the sort of person who caused embarrassing incidents, and his job was to avoid embarrassment. The meeting had been brief. Bond was assured of the full support and cooperation of government forces should he need them, and he in turn had assured the governor that there would be little likelihood of that.

I`ll leave it to the reader to decide which from each set Fleming wrote.

The authors also copy other details. Bond`s hand was scarred by SMERSH. Felix has a hook instead of an arm and the book refers to the Florida incident where Felix was injured. In Chapter 2, Bond notes that Anagram drives like a man and uses blinkers to indicate turns. After she leaves him, he calls her a “bitch”; compare what Bond says at the end of Chapter 11 in Thunderball after he`s met Domino. The novel also relies heavily on Moonraker: the card game; the last chapter when M tells an injured Bond that the service doesn`t go in for awards, gives him a leave of absence, and explains how the government and the press will cover up the mishap. Mind you, future Bond films and novels also copy from it (i.e. the villain has steel teeth like Jaws; the henchman`s hand shoots a dart into a picture; an exploding compressed air canister kills a villain).

There`s not that much humour. What little there is, is more of the “throwaway” kind (and some of the more over-the-top humour is rather strained): A large sign proclaimed “World-Wide Import & Export Ltd,” and few knew this was the headquarters for HM Secret Service. Bond thought of the few innocents who occasionally wandered in trying to import or export something. They were taken to the dummy offices on the fifth floor where they were politely, but firmly, shot.” Actually, one of the funniest things in the book is the publisher`s blurb about the other Vanitas Books by I*N FL*M*NG being sold out. Or in Chapter 11, Bond says about M: He had always called Allen Dulles whenever there was a difficult situation and it was difficult to convince him that Allen Dulles was no longer in charge of the CIA.

The novel is at it`s best when it tries to be an exciting thriller in its own right. The 14% through 36% section of the novel features an exciting card game which has what others call the “Fleming sweep”. It`s terrific, exciting, with ingenious bits: Bond cottons onto the deaf-mutes` gambit, he realizes that Alligator asked for tens because the deaf-mute must have splayed his fingers out when Bond knocked him over. This is great, though Bond`s toast reeks of parody and seems straight out of the 1967 Casino Royale parody. Notwithstanding this, it`s these clever exciting parts that make me argue that the book should be counted as a legitimate series entity.

There are also wonderful details about Alligator`s background in Chapter 4: people threw baby alligators into the sewers, the alligators grew in size, and Alligator befriended them – which is a strikingly Fleming touch, one that doesn`t rely on the originals, and this is how the authors should have written the novel. M says, “Then when they got too big or their owners became bored with them, they flushed them down the toilet. In the sewers they just went right on growing. Thrived there. Apparently he grew very attached to them and they to him. Found he could do a very good business selling them to zoos, and of course he could sell the baby ones for conversation pieces.” In fact, if I didn`t know any better I would have thought that Fleming had written this passage.

Chapter 6 has a nice bit about stupid Bulgarians which sounds like Fleming but works on its own. Besides there were the two deaf-mute Bulgarian bodyguards. Bulgarians, B*nd had always known, are inherently stupid and muscular. Lacking the intelligence to be criminal masterminds in their own right, they usually ended up as hired thugs. He remembered that while he had been working on the Casino case in France, the Deuxieme Bureau had uncovered a whole pool of Bulgars expert in sabotage and murder jobs. Alligator had probably hired his bodyguards from just such a pool.

In Chapter 12, the Governor explains that Alligator bought a Bermuda Island, and built a purple replica of the British Parliament on it (reminiscent of Doctor No). There`s also a nice, believable (until you think about it) explanation about water shortage, which is probably a parody of Fleming`s poor research. (Mind you, even if it isn`t, it`s detailed and fascinating the way Fleming can be.)

Chapter 13 is one of the book`s best chapters, and has some good writing: “Does Smersh mean anything to you?” “I`ve heard of it,” he replied shortly. Or when Anagram explains Alligator`s “washroom” cue; though parody, it`s nicely done. In fact, up to that point I thought Alligator`s penchant for going to the washroom was amateurish. I read her explanation and thought, okay, that`s good writing. The authors convinced me.

Anagram`s background and predicament is a high point and though it copies Vesper`s situation in Casino Royale, it`s good, strong writing and dramatically effective, perhaps more than Fleming`s original. In the same chapter Anagram mentions that her mother wrestled with her conscience for 9 months (after becoming pregnant); this is Fleming-like and also good writing.

In Chapter 16, Bond, captured, is invited to dinner and given a menu list. Bond specifices exactly how he wants his meal prepared and it`s parody, but it works (and is funny); Bond notes that the shrimp should be de-veined before being cooked. It`s also good, effective writing; it would work well in a regular Bond novel. I suppose a crucial element of a successful parody is for the scenes and details to work as parody and non-parody.

In Chapter 17, Bond hears two sets of chimes and realizes that Alligator stole the Parliament buildings; it`s a nice bit and exciting and has the same charge you get from the high points in the other novels.

Chapter 18 is another fine chapter, with funny details: (it`s presumably a parody of the dining scene in Doctor No) Bond swipes almost everything off the dinner table to use as weapons and nobody notices. There`s one deft, funny bit: he blows the candle out and tucks it in robe.

The same chapter is clever: the kidnapped politicians debate England`s entry into the Common Market. It`s funny and yet entirely logical and it works. Think about it, what else are they going to do? They`ll have to debate it at some point so why not now? It`s brilliant because it`s so believable. It`s off the wall, yet expected.

Also in Chapter 18, Alligator explains that, “With the help of the Detroit Purple Gang, to whom my aesthetic intuition led me directly, I entered the field of international alligator smuggling: my already substantial income increased fourfold, and I was able to expand my Nazi youth group into a sort of special executive for counterintelligence, terrorism, revenge, and extortion [Note the initials: s.p.e.c.t.r.e] – in short, The Organization Organized to Hate, or, simply, T.O.O.T.H.” There are other clever details: Alligator explains his Russian connections (or “connexions”, Fleming`s way of spelling the word): three of their agents stole an atom bomb (Thunderball), and a fourth, Gary Powers (though he`s not actually mentioned), allowed his plane to be forced down over Russia. One of several ingenious Fleming-style details. (It makes it even less understandable why John Gardner never had the knack when Frirth/Cerf got it downpat.)

The finale is exciting and clever (and at these times it forfeits the label parody): Bond disguises himself as the PM and approaches Alligator. It builds in intensity and is probably more exciting than Fleming because the book is so compact.

However, I never thought I`d say this in regards to Fleming`s writing, but Fleming is more stylish than Frith and Cerf. It copies Fleming`s style, but it doesn`t have the same sturdiness or exuberance. Alligator keeps saying “chum” and botching Bond`s name; these tics are actually more annoying as the book goes along and he isn`t a great villain. The novel is also structurally flawed; the story takes an awkward turn at the 40% mark when it shifts from the card game to the Bermuda plot. It also slows down immediately after the card game and takes several chapters to work itself back up. Chapter 11 awkwardly shoehorns news about the disappearing Parliament buildings, and at other times the novel is too rushed (i.e. Felix Ronson is a walk-on/get-killed part) and needed fleshing out.

Chapter 19 probably features the book`s worst scene. Bond fights an alligator which keeps biting chunks out of him. It`s presumably meant to parody the obstacle-course sequence from Doctor No, but it`s sloppy and doesn`t work. It didn`t bother me as much re-reading the novel, but it would have worked better had it been less stupid. However, there`s one inspired bit of writing: B*nd was not a religious man, but at that moment he gazed toward the black ceiling and uttered a silent word of thanks. As if in answer, a flash of blinding yellow light appeared from the ceiling. The trap door had reopened.

Should Alligator be considered a “real” Bond novel? Yes, even though Glidrose doesn`t own the copyright. John Gardner tended towards parody at his worst and the most ludicrous moments in his novels aren`t that far removed from the parody here. It also fits in more easily with the books than the 1967 Casino Royale does with the Bond films. There are moments straight out of that film (during the toast, Alligator throws his glass back and dings Dingletump on the head, Chapter 8), but it`s actually very Fleming-like. It also has the crucial ingredient that, for example, John Gardner never grasped: the situations can be ridiculous but the author must be absolutely straight-faced and treat almost everything with the utmost tongue-in-cheek seriousness. The authors take themselves very seriously. It`s part of the book`s charm and explains its popularity.